REVIEW – Tommy Atkins – Kiss Me, Cowboy EP

Tommy Atkins - Kiss Me, Cowboy

 

Following three consecutive chart-toppers, British country music star Tommy Atkins is gearing up for the release of his first EP: Kiss Me, Cowboy.

 

2020 has been a breakout year. From award wins (Male Artist of the Year, CMS Listener’s Choice) and nominations (Positive Role Model Award – LGBT, National Diversity Awards 2020; Best Song, Silverball Country Awards) to making history at country radio with a hit that features openly gay lyrics, Atkins is now representing the U.K. and the LGBTQ+ community in country music on an international level.

 

“I am so proud of these songs and the world-class musicians that have brought them to life in the studio,” Atkins explained. “I hope everyone can find something of themselves in these stories of life and love and the loss of both.”

 

This is an absolutely beautiful collection of songs.  Atkins holds writing credits on three, and two of those are solo writes. Three are previously released singles, including the debut hit Wild In The Wind and a critically acclaimed cover of Wham!’s Freedom.

 

  • The title track opens the EP. It’s a hard hitter, navigating young love and homophobia against a backdrop of a steel guitar ballad.
  • An unexpected cover of Freedom comes next. I’ll admit, when I first heard that Atkins had recorded a country cover of a Wham! song, I was sceptical – but when you hear it, you’ll get it.  It was a highlight on our covers 2.0 playlist and it’s something I just can’t get enough of. Despite not writing it himself, Tommy Atkins has completely rewritten the song.
  • We get our dancing shoes on with Cinderella’s Had A Drink.  This is unabashed fun – it’s traditional country with masterful instrumentation and a delightfully British twist in the lyrics.
  • Wild In The Wind closes the EP.  It’s an emotional track; it mourns the loss of a friend whilst simultaneously celebrating their impact on your life.

 

This EP provides a cohesive soundscape with openly-gay themes, emotional stories and whole lot of heart.  The tracks were recorded in Nashville by producer Dr Ford and mastered by GRAMMY-nominated engineer, Pete Lyman, for Infrasonic Sound (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile). The EP features 2020 GRAMMY winner, Michael Cleveland, on fiddle; legendary steel and dobro player, Smith Curry (Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift), Chris Condon on guitars (Billy Ray Cyrus) and Anna Pearson on harmonies.

 

Kiss Me, Cowboy – The EP arrives Thursday 24th September on all major platforms. You can listen to Tommy’s musicvisit his website, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Continue Reading

Weekly Playlist #24: canadian country 2.0

Weekly Playlist #24: Canadian Country 2.0

 

It’s a little bit late in the day, but that’s only because we’re running on Canadian time. Our 24th weekly playlist is Canadian Country 2.0! This one was chosen by Becky Lawrence, partly because we had a tie in our poll here and in the tiebreaker on Twitter, but also to celebrate our recent announcement that Becky has become the newest member of the 3C family!

 

So, without further ado, we have some highlights to talk about. First of all, let’s talk about Can I Have This Dance? – I wept like a baby the first time I listened to this song. I’m not afraid to tell you it still makes me tear up.  I love the journey in Joey’s voice as the recalls stories from her childhood. Check out our review for more of the backstory behind this song, and then try not to cry when you listen.

 

My second highlight is Used, and boy, this one hits me like a ton of bricks every time.  Were going from one extreme to another here today, folks.  You all know I’m absolutely wild about everything Jess Moskaluke breathes on, and this song is an absolute masterpiece. It was a challenge to choose just one to include in this playlist! The depth of emotion in Moskaluke’s voice is mind-blowing, and the power is absolutely stunning.

 

Finally – and one that doesn’t make me cry! – These Days is my third highlight. I just adore the vibe of this song. It’s fun, it’s liberating, it’s airy but bold and it sounds like an absolutely perfect drive along the coast on a summer’s day. It’s one I can’t get enough of, even as summer comes to a close.

 

Listen to the full playlist here || check out our BEST OF: Canadian Country playlist!

 

So, what do you think?! Give me a shout on our socials and let me know YOUR favourite Canadian artists and who I should include next time. Don’t forget to let me know YOUR highlights from this list! And remember, my inbox is always open for your playlist theme suggestions.

Continue Reading

INTRODUCING: Teagan Stewart

Teagan Stewart

New Mexico-native Teagan Stewart released the title track of her forthcoming EP, Taste of My Heartbreak, back in August. With two more singles planned before the EP itself, this blues-country powerhouse has big dreams and an even bigger voice. We caught up with Teagan to talk about her career so far, as well as a little about the EP.

 

Country music has always felt so personal to me – even when I wasn’t actually a man going fishing, a woman driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati on a snow-white Christmas Eve, or anything else of the kind. But I was sucked into the world of each song. I was an intense listener as a kid – I would memorize the songwriters of each song on an album and know all the stories behind the songs on the radio. Country was (and still is) home.

 

There are so many influences! For this EP especially, biggest influences were: Eric Church, Hunter Hayes,  Miranda Lambert, and R&B singer JoJo. The inspiration I got from these artists was their musicality – I didn’t want a canned radio sound or the guitar riffs to sound like any Broadway guitarist played them. I wanted the instruments to talk and each player to come in with their own musical voice and really jam with each song. Eric Church’s stuff can be so funky and Hunter Hayes, the same thing. I love the lonely steel guitar in Miranda Lambert’s ballads and I pulled from that. With JoJo, I wanted to achieve how expressionistic she is with her voice.

 

I’m proud to say I wrote four out of six songs solo. This entire collection of songs is so personal to me because I designed it to mimic the emotional arc of my breakup. You begin with the title track (out now), where the initial shock of the break up makes you feel all kinds of things, like edgy, playful, petty, and a little angry. Then you move through all these different stages – denial, loneliness, newfound freedom, recklessness, etc. The final song, Good Intentions, was written when it was suggested that we should get back together and maybe try again. Well, I take it back. The hook and part of the verse were written at the time that that happened. Then I couldn’t finish the song. Nothing stuck. But I knew I had to stick with it because I always sang it when I was alone in the bathroom. And that’s how I know it’s the real deal, because I don’t usually sing any of my own songs in the bathroom. So then I knew I had to finish it by the time one of my shows came around. I had written it acapella, so I didn’t even have chords to give the band. I was just like, I’m gonna sing it, and let me know what feels right to you. I’m maybe most proud of that song.

 

This EP and the musicians I got to work with – i.e. Tanya Tucker’s bassist, guitarists on tour with new country acts, etc. are certainly my biggest achievements to date, along with playing iconic venues like The Bluebird Café, the International Balloon Fiesta, The Back Corner and the New Mexico State Fair. Among the top of the list for me is to play/host SNL, play the Isleta Amphitheater where I saw every country concert as a kid, and collaborate with Hunter Hayes.

 

I want to make a music video for Good Intentions. Of course, I would love to play shows but I’m patient. I’m definitely ready to tour for the EP as soon as it’s safe and makes sense to do so!

 

TASTE OF MY HEARTBREAK is available to stream now, ahead of the full EP release in October. Keep your eyes peeled for some more features with Teagan over the coming weeks! Follow Teagan on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, or visit her website.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Screaming Orphans – Every Woman Gardens

Screaming Orphans - Every Woman Gardens

Every Woman Gardens is the lead single from Sunshine and Moss, the latest album from Screaming Orphans.  The genre-breaking, chart-topping band is comprised of Irish sisters, and the album once again shows off their unique, multi-faceted sound, heavily inspired by traditional Irish folk music.

 

This is not at all what I expected. Every Woman Gardens opens with a gentle, uplifting acoustic guitar. It’s followed by soothing vocals, and then the harmonies kick in. It’s enough to make you swoon. The harmonies are rich and layered, perfectly placed and the plucked strings in the background of the track give the song a delicious air of whimsy. This is a celebration of women in the most unique, delicate way.

 

The sisters recorded Sunshine And Moss in their childhood home in Bundoran, County Donegal, Ireland, during lockdown.  It was engineered, mixed and mastered by PJ Cardinal at his home in New York. Sunshine represents the positive things that can come out of dark (Moss) times. The album is described as a ‘real home project’ and it includes songs they grew up listening to, such as My Grandfather’s Clock, Eileen Oge, and Mary From Dungloe.

 

SUNSHINE AND MOSS was released on 28th August 2020. You can stream it here. You can follow Screaming Orphans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Continue Reading

INTRODUCING: Laura Beckwith

introducing Laura Beckwith

 

Up-and-coming country/pop artist Laura Beckwith has always been drawn to music. Beckwith learned piano after enrolling in theatre school and has been writing and performing all over the south of the UK ever since. We caught up with her in the run-up to her next single release to talk about her career and #whatmadeyoucountry.

 

Since the age of three I attended theatre school and I’ve have grown up performing musical theatre songs. I feel that my love for country music stemmed from the want to tell stories much like musical theatre songs.  Maddie and Tae are a country duo who have worked incredibly hard and persisted through the rough times to get where they are. They truly inspire me to work hard, aim high and to go after what you want.

 

‘Halfway’ came after an extremely long and heated argument that seemed to never end. The single is about me trying to find a way to finish the argument without making it worse.  My previous single,  ‘Not In Love’ was played on BBC Essex and several other radio stations. Unfortunately ‘Not in love’ ended up being released during lockdown so I haven’t had the opportunity to perform the song live yet.

 

At the moment my aim is to meet as many artists as possible and write brilliant music! As well as hopefully getting back out and performing live.

 

Country music is raw and truthful. With my Dad being a drummer I have always appreciated the complexity of playing an instrument. I grew up watching ‘Hannah Montana’ and I was obsessed with the music. I can’t be 100% sure on the first country song I ever heard. However, the first country song that really hit me was ‘Bless the broken road’ by Rascal Flatts. The blend of their voices and meaning behind each lyric is absolutely incredible.

 

The first country gig I saw was actually only last year when visiting Nashville. I watched a performance at The Listening Room Cafe. I was in my element! The music and the atmosphere put together made that night the best!

 

An artist that inspires the most is ‘Kelsea Ballerini’. Her music is absolutely incredible and I love how much she connects with her audience when performing. Right now I’m listening to Ingrid Andress and her album ‘Lady Like’ – her music is incredible and timeless.

 

Every time I listen to ‘Bless the broken road’ it reminds me exactly why I love slow music. The song is a pure masterpiece, the lyrics, melody and harmonies fit so perfectly!

 

If you wanna bring up the mood in any situation play ‘Islands in the stream’. If I can make music that gets everyone singing and dancing like this song does – that would be the ultimate.

 

I was in two minds for a long time about whether I suited country music and if wanted to release that style of music. After hearing ‘My Church’ it was the final confirmation that I wanted to create brilliant music like this.

 

When I first heard ‘More Hearts Than Mine’ I was shocked at how much the lyric related to me and my family. The more you listen to country music you realise that every song has come from a true experience and I love that you can relate to others.

 

My last song although by far not the least is a pop song called ‘Turning Page’ by Sleeping at Last. This was one of the first songs I performed professionally. This particular song also made me realise just how much I love music. The first time I heard ‘Turning Page was in my most favourite movie ‘Twilight’ – I adore the vocals and lyrics – such a stunning song.

 

Laura’s next single HALFWAY is released on 25th September 2020. Pre-order via the iTunes Store & pre-save on Spotify here. You can follow Laura on FacebookTwitter & Instagram.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Liam Coleman – Upside

Liam Coleman - Upside

Liam Coleman has announced the release of Upside on 18th September 2020.  Upside is the first of four singles that comprise Coleman’s Nashville-recorded second EP.

 

As soon as Upside opens with a crisp, reverb-heavy guitar, I know Liam Coleman is going to be one to watch.  When the vocal kicks in, it’s hard to believe he’s only seventeen. His voice and lyrical delivery are mature and confident, and his writing even more so. The production of this track is phenomenal – recorded with Ken Royster at Direct Image Studio in Nashville (responsible for Luke Combs’ Hurricane), everything about this debut single is slick and polished with the self-assurance of an experienced, worldly performer.

 

UPSIDE, co-written with Seattle-based Abigail Neilson, is out on 18th September and is available for pre-save here.  You can follow Liam on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Elora Taylor – What I’d Do

Elora Taylor - Didn't You Know

Canadian singer-songwriter Elora Taylor is back with another hit following a moving tribute to her late mother earlier in the year.

 

Released at the end of August, What I’d Do is pop-infused and upbeat, produced with layered harmonies and gorgeous, intricate guitar tracks.  Taylor’s delicate, beautifully-articulated vocal style lends itself well to the bright production. It’s bold but airy, striking a seemingly impossible balance that firmly entrenches Elora Taylor as one of the most exciting songwriters in the music scene. Of the track, Taylor notes it was recorded in her home studio during quarantine, and that it’s the perfect song for right now – ‘being there’ for someone is something we could all use a little more of.

 

Elora Taylor is a country music singer/songwriter from Toronto ON. She formed the all-girl rock band Tallulah Darling after an injury ended her competitive figure skating career. After playing a number of notable venues and festivals in Toronto and showcasing for Sony Records in NYC, the band split and Taylor focused a country music solo career. What I’d Do was recorded at home during a period of quarantine, and released in August 2020.

 

Listen to WHAT I’D DO on Spotify. You can follow Elora on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, or visit her website.

 

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Laura Beckwith – Halfway

Laura Beckwith - Halfway

UK-based singer-songwriter Laura Beckwith has announced the release of her debut country single on 25th September.  Drawn to music from a young age, she learned piano after starting theatre school and has been a mainstay of the live music scene at venues across London, Essex and Hampshire.

 

Whilst Laura’s first single exhibited a modern pop production, Halfway is very much a country song.  With delicate, angelic vocals and natural flair for storytelling, Halfway has already been picked up by UK country radio and looks set to catapult Beckwith to country stardom.

 

Halfway came after an extremely heated argument that went on for hours. All I wanted was for it to be resolved and somehow forget that it ever happened. Sometimes compromises have to be made in order for you to move on.”

 

The production on Halfway is slick and polished to perfection. This is a soundscape worthy of chart-topping success.

 

HALFWAY is released on 25th September 2020. Pre-order via the iTunes Store & pre-save on Spotify here. You can follow Laura on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Continue Reading

Weekly Playlist #23: Ladies in the 90s

weekly playlist 23: ladies in the 90s

It’s time for a little throwback this week, because our weekly playlist is ladies in the 90s! I’m so thrilled to celebrate these incredible women – the women who followed in the footsteps of Patsy, Reba and Dolly, and who paved the way for Kelsea, Maren and Carrie. Put on your gladrags, friends, because it’s time to party.

 

Highlights for this week’s playlist are almost impossible to choose. But since it’s tradition, I’ll do my best.

 

This Kiss is one of the first country songs I remember hearing – it got a lot of play on my dad’s favourite radio station, and it became something I’d sing along to without fail. Come On Over has to be my second highlight, because Shania was my gateway into country music. There were a hundred of her songs I could have chosen, but this one just feels so good.

 

My final highlight is Tonight The Heartache’s On Me.  The Chicks have always been a true love of mine, and although this isn’t my favourite Chicks song, it just feels synonymous with the 1990s and the strong, powerful, take-no-bull ladies who dominated the country music scene.

 

Listen to the full playlist here.

 

The 90s was a golden era for girl power, not just in country music but in music the world over. What are your favourite 90s tunes? What are your highlights from my list? Get in touch and let me know!

Continue Reading
1 2 3 13